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4610.0.55.007 - Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile, 2000-01 to 2005-06  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/08/2008  First Issue
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LAND USE

Significant proportions of the Basin's area are comprised of agriculture (66.7%) and native forest (31.9%). There are relatively smaller water (0.8%) and urban areas (0.2%) (table 1.3).

1.3 Land use - Murray-Darling Basin - 2008

Area
Proportion of total area
km2
%

Agriculture(a)
706 045
66.7
Forests and plantations
Native forest
338 023
31.9
Plantation forest
3 567
0.3
Total
341 590
32.3
Urban
1 792
0.2
Water
8 076
0.8
Bare ground
1 004
0.1
Total area(b)
1 058 549
100.0

(a) Agricultural area does not equal the area from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census due to differences in concepts, methods and sources.
(b) Components may not add to total MDB area due to rounding. The total area is calculated independently from the land use category areas.
Source: Bureau of Rural Sciences 2008, Rural Water, viewed 9 July 2008, http://adl.brs.gov.au/water2010/index.phtml


Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) modelling shows that almost 67% of the MDB is used for agricultural purposes (growing crops and pasture), as shown in table 1.3. The ABS 2005-06 Agricultural Census found that 84% of land in the MDB was owned by businesses engaged in agriculture. This shows that some parts of agricultural holdings were not necessarily used for growing crops or pasture.

In 2005-06, the MDB contained 888,000 square kilometres of agricultural holdings as reported by farmers in the ABS Agricultural Census (table 1.4). This was 20% of total land held by Australian agricultural holdings. Most agricultural area in the MDB is located in New South Wales (512,136 km2) and Queensland (234,213 km2). While South Australia has the smallest area of land in the MDB when compared with the other MDB states, more of this land is held as agricultural holdings (95%).

1.4 Distribution of agricultural area - 2005-06

Agricultural land area(a)
Total land area
Agricultural area as a proportion of total area
km2
km2
%

Murray-Darling Basin
New South Wales
512 136
597 926
86
Victoria
75 929
129 761
59
Queensland
234 213
259 313
90
South Australia
65 549
69 216
95
Australian Capital Territory
449
2 354
19
Total(b)
888 277
1 058 549
84
Balance of Australia
3 460 972
6 614 096
52
Australia(b)
4 349 248
7 672 645
57

(a) Represents agricultural area of holding reported by farmers in the ABS Agricultural Census 2005-06.
(b) Components may not add to total due to rounding.
Source: BRS data available on request, 2008; ABS data available on request, ABS Agricultural Census, 2005-06






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